Like how JRR Tolkien’s novels “The Lord of the Rings” did much to codify, establish, and popularize many of the classic tropics of the fantasy genre, Frank Herbert’s “Dune” can be held up as the ultimate inspiration for many sci-fi elements to be seen later in “Star Wars”. It’s a huge amount of historical influence to attribute to a single piece of media, but “Dune” holds more than such a study. This is not to say that it is perfect, and this is where the complaints about white savior come in. In a recent roundtable discussion where / film writer Vanessa Armstrong participated, Villeneuve addressed these concerns and (hopefully) calmed some thoughts.
“It’s a very important question. That’s why I thought ‘Dune’ when I read it is relevant. It’s a critique of it. It’s not a celebration of a savior. It’s a critique, it is a combination of the critique of the idea of a savior, of one who will come and tell another people how to be and what to believe and try to tell them how … So it is not a condemnation, but a critique. That’s how I feel it is relevant and it may seem contemporary. That’s what I want to say about it. Yes. Honestly, it’s the opposite. “
In his honor, it seems that Denis Villeneuve has thought a lot about this, to the extent that the question did not seem to surprise him. He acknowledges the seriousness of the potentially thorny issue while denying (denying? Honestly, it’s refreshing to hear an established filmmaker talk about how portrayal does not necessarily equate to approval, which is a common problem that seems to plague social media and audience in general.It is quite possible that “Dune” can present Atreides and his family as white saviors without really taking the moral stance that it is good, in fact.
Of course, we will have to come up with our own assessments of whether the film succeeds with this goal or not. We do not have to wait also much longer when “Dune” hits theaters and HBO Max on October 22, 2021.
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